NFL and NIH award grants for concussion research

The National Institutes of Health, with partial funding by the

NFL, has chosen eight projects to receive support in researching

concussions.

Two $6 million grants will be given to a cooperative partnership

focused on long-term changes in the brain years after a head injury

or after multiple concussions. The partnership includes the

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS);

the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and

Human Development (NICHD); and multiple academic medical

centers.

The NIH also will provide just over $2 million for start-ups of

sports-releated concussion projects. If the early results are

encouraging, they may become the basis of more comprehensive

projects.

The NIH institutes responsible for managing these grants are

NINDS, NICHD, and the National Institute on Deafness and Other

Communication Disorders (NIDCD).

”We need to be able to predict which patterns of injury are

rapidly reversible and which are not,” Story Landis, director of

NINDS, said in a statement. ”This program will help researchers

get closer to answering some of the important questions about

concussion for our youth who play sports and their parents.”

The NFL did not have a role in which organizations received the

grants. Those decisions were made by the NIH.

”We are optimistic that these research projects will help

advance the understanding of the complex issues involving traumatic

brain injury,” said Jeff Miller, the NFL senior vice president of

health and safety policy.

The cooperative awards bring together two teams of independent

scientists to study and compare the brains of donors who were at

high or low risk for developing long-term effects of traumatic

brain injury. Ten neuropathologists from eight universities will

meet to develop standards for diagnosis.

Four teams will correlate brain scans with changes in brain

tissue, which could lead to using such advanced brain imaging

techniques to diagnose chronic effects of traumatic brain injury in

people who are still alive.

The NIH also will develop a registry for enrolling individuals

with a history of such brain injuries who are interested in

donating brain and spinal cord tissue for study after their

death.

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org